Harry Edgar Smith (1886-1915)

Harry is listed on the War Memorial as one of those who gave his life during the First World War.

Harry was born in 1886 at Reedham, Norfolk. He was the fourth child of Thomas Smith & Elizabeth, nee Watson. His four siblings were: John, Thomas, Florence and Joseph. His father died when Harry was a child and in 1891, he lived with his widowed mother at Rollesby. By 1911 he was still living with his mother but she had re-married to George Proctor and they lived at Broad View, Rollesby and Harry was a gardener. Two years later he married Emma May Greenacre at St Mary’s on Christmas Day 1913. She was the daughter of Charles Frederick Greenacre & Alice, nee Utting.

He enlisted as Private 5296 with the 16th Queen’s Lancers at Great Yarmouth in about 1914/15.  The 16th Queen’s Lancers were a distinguished British cavalry which served on the Western Front throughout the duration of the First World War. The regiment landed at Le Havre, France on 18th August 1914. The worst casualties the regiment suffered during the whole war was at Ypres on 21st February 1915. Three German mines were exploded under a portion of a trench held by the Lancers followed by an attack either side of D squadron. The Regiment lost a total of seven officers and 43 other ranks killed wounded and missing on that day.

Harry was wounded in action and was transferred back home to Bagthorpe Military Hospital in Nottingham where he died on 1st August 1915, aged 28. He is buried at St Mary’s graveyard section H, plot C19 and is listed on the War Memorial.

The funeral cortege for Harry crossing the Green heading up Black Street to St Mary’s Church
Harry’s grave at section H, plot C19 of St Mary’s

At the outbreak of World War One the military authorities took over Bagthorpe Hospital, Nottingham which at the time provided 600 beds for wounded soldiers who were transported by rail and brought into the hospital from its own railway station.

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